- Saxophonist Steve Neff shares a Joe Allard overtone exercise. (Read the comments section, too.)
- Clarinetist Diana Haskell shares some results of asking colleagues what are the most important things about orchestral playing.
- Helen Bledsoe shares some flute intonation exercises (could be adapted to other instruments).
- Clarinetist Jenny Maclay offers advice on dealing with the mental baggage of being a musician. (Reminder: blog posts are not a substitute for professional counseling.)
- Woodwind doubler Kelsey Mire makes a case for fair pay for doublers.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake digs into reasons inefficient practice techniques get perpetuated.
- Bassoonist Nadina Mackie Jackson answers questions about gender in the classical music world.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle seeks balance between expression and technique.
- Woodwind doubler David Freeman shares a funny pit experience. There are possibly teachable moments there if you care to draw them out.
- Cate Hummel discusses solutions to third-octave problems, as well as when to introduce dynamics and vibrato to students.
Lots of great woodwind blogging this month!
- Ben Britton shares some tips on jazz saxophone section playing. In a sort of related post, Bob Reynolds discusses note endings in section playing.
- Roderick Seed gives advice on getting a good middle E on the flute.
- Pauline at Cleonide discusses the (non?-)influence of instrument materials on tone. Unsurprisingly, the naysayers were quick to respond in the comments section with their unsupported arguments (as they have been on my own posts on this topic).
- Bassoonist Barry Stees offers some ideas for playing pianissimo.
- Clarinetist Jenny Maclay believes there is more to life than All-State auditions.
- Flutist Helen Bledsoe has a request for composers about articulation markings.
- Bassoonist Mike Macaulay shares thoughts on preparing orchestral parts.
- Saxophonist Peter Spitzer muses on the “bis” key.
- Bassoonist Jessi Vandagriff suggests raising your lesson fees.
- Saxophonist Bob Reynolds (again) relieves stress by practicing fundamentals.
Here’s what’s worth reading from the woodwind blogs in January:
- Woodwind doubler Steve Moffett suggests taking a break now and then.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell reminds us that playing with a pianist means needing to know your own part and his or hers.
- Helen Bledsoe weighs in on the debate about how register changes are made on the flute. I don’t entirely agree with her, but she makes some interesting points, as do the flutists in the videos she shares. (For more on this, see my previous post and accompanying PDF cataloging some of the, er, hot air surrounding this topic.)
- Clarinetist Adam Berkowitz takes practicing to the next level.
- Bassoonist Christin Schillinger shares some ideas about ongoing development as a musician, plus some metronome games.
- Woodwind doubler Josh Johnson does a review of the Ridenour Lyrique bass clarinet. I’m sharing this one because I think it’s a well-written and thoughtful review, and because I think high-quality instruments made from alternative materials are a welcome next wave in woodwind manufacture. As a side note, I recently purchased one of these basses for my university clarinet studio and have spent some time playing it, and my experience with the instrument basically matches Josh’s.
- Oboist Cooper Wright seeks to raise standards in his teaching studio.
- Woodwind doubler Michael Grant concludes(?) a 12-part marathon of long posts describing his experience playing in the pit orchestra for a local musical theater production [update: link dead].
Just when I think I’ve got every single woodwind-related blog in my feed reader, I stumble onto a dozen more. If you’re writing good stuff and think you might have escaped my notice, let me know!
Some good stuff from the woodwind blogs in November:
- I’m totally stoked that oboist Cooper Wright is blogging again, from a new location. Add this one to your RSS reader to follow his transition into a new job as co-principal oboist of the Thailand Philharmonic, and, of course, his endless reedmaking.
- Saxophonist Steve Neff reviews the new John Coltrane Omnibook.
- Helen Bledsoe searches for the elusive tin oboe. Spoiler alert: she doesn’t find one, but she tries some interesting things along the way.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake warms up body and mind.
- Bassoonist Betsy Sturdevant thoroughly prepares the Beethoven 4 solo.
- Matt Otto takes a closer look at the 8th-note “swing” feel of three of the great jazz saxophonists. (Please don’t make the “oh, it’s just triplets” mistake.)
- Jennet Ingle reminds us that effective doubling requires more than just being able to play the solos.
- Adam at A Classical Journey is studying musical instrument repair and documenting the experience very thoroughly. The class has started its woodwind unit [update: link dead], so if you’re fascinated by this stuff like I am, then now is the time to tune in.